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Monday, November 3, 2014

[Seoul, Express Bus Terminal] Tong Keun Gamjatang Jokbal (Pork Bone Soup) 고속터미널역 감자탕


It may seem a little strange, but my favorite place to eat gamjatang (Korean pork bone soup) is at the Express Bus Terminal in Seoul.
 
Gamjatang is one of my favorite Korean foods, it is just so flavorful and there are a ton of different flavor components that just come together in a very harmonious flavor combination.
 




As you can see, the provide you a wide array of banchan (side dishes). They serve radish kimchi, cabbage kimchi, seasoned spinach, and seasoned soft tofu.

Random fact: The word gamja in gamjatang does not actually mean potato. I was so surprised when my friends told me. Gamja typically means potato in Korean, but in gamjatang, it refers to the specific joint in the pig used for the meat in the soup.

I first discovered this restaurant in 2012 with one of my private tutor students. She knew I really loved gamjatang and was so excited when she found this place! We met her because it was kind of near my office and was very convenient in terms of bus access and subway access.

Since it is so random and not the cheapest places in the underground shopping center, many people, especially travelers, just dismiss it. I have fallen prey to the cheap dumpling place across the aisle, but never again.

I have only ever gotten the gamjatang. The small (so) size is 25,000KRW, medium size (jung) size is 29,000KRW, and the large (dae) size is 35,000 KRW. I took a picture of the menu sign so you can just memorize what it is you should point at/order on the order paper.

A unique feature of the gamjatang at this restaurant is that they use the tender outer leaves, adding to a richer flavor. The potatoes are cooked very well, not too crunchy and not too soft. There are plenty of pork bones for each eater to have multiple bones, if wanted. The meat falls right off of the bone and it is just perfect.

To eat, you can eat the meat and vegetables plain. Otherwise, there is a sauce provided that adds extra flavor and compliments all of the flavors in the soup. Just dip some of your meat in the sauce and you will understand what I mean. You can ladle some of the soup into the flat dishes provided. There is  larger bowl to be used for discarding the bones.

For size reference:
Small (so) serves 2-3
Medium (joong) serves 3-4
Large (dae) serves 4-5

They also have other food options available, including crab soup (kkot gae tang) (32,000KRW for a medium size, 37,000 for the large size), but again I have ever tried it, so I am not sure how it is.

If you're not feeling like eating gamjatang or you are there by yourself, they serve individual portions of soup. From my observations, I usually see people ordering the woo go ji ppyo hae jang guk (우거지뼈해장국), which is pretty much the individual size order of the gamjatang. The pork bones and vegetables are all there. They also have a kimchi ppyo hae jang guk (김치뼈해장국). Both of these are 7,000KRW. Another popular item is 추어탕 (choo o tang), a flavorful soup made from a small fish.

You can also order a side of rice (gong gi bap, 공기밥) for 1,000KRW.


Location: This is a little difficult to explain. I always get lost in the underground shopping center by the subway station (line 3).
I usually end up wandering around until I see it.

There is a cheap shoe shop across the way and a dumpling shop nearby.
If you click on the menu picture, you can see the store logo and you should just look for that.

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